Flood water is something that every homeowner in Florida must come to terms with because if you live in the sunshine state, Mother Nature is known for dropping massive amounts rainwater in a very short amount of time. Over the past few years, tropical rainstorms have seen a 50 percent increase with torrential rainstorms dropping three or more inches of rain all at once throughout Florida.
There are a lot of reasons why cities like Miami and Orlando seem to get the worst of it, due in most part to their geographical location; however, flood damage causes upheaval to foundations throughout the entire state. With a never-ending forecast insight, and where heavy rainstorms are just a part of living in Florida, it’s important to recognize the signs of foundation damage due to flooding, and the reasons why you should act quickly.
Signs of Flood Damage
Besides the most obvious signs that flooding has occurred by seeing the evidence of water on the floor, there are some other key elements that are important signs of flooding. Here’s what you should be looking for:
- Cracks in the foundation’s walls
- Signs of condensation on pipes, walls, and floor
- Smell and signs of mildew and mold
- Mold, rot, and rust signs on columns, walls, and floors
- Efflorescence (white substance) or clay silt in wall corners and floorboards
How Flooding Damage Impacts Your Foundation
Most of the damage that occurs to a foundation in Florida is due to the impact of heavy rainwater, rising waters, and the rapidly moving waters associated with it. This can cause the soil to wash away from the foundation and leave standing water longer in its place. If you don’t call a soil remediation company to come and repair the damage, eventually your home’s structural integrity will fail. Additionally, standing water penetrates deep into the ground, which can create sinkholes under your home.
It’s important to understand the power of floodwaters. Moving water at 10mph has the same force as winds traveling at 270mph, and along with flooding comes toxic chemicals and debris that can cause even more damage to your foundation. Flooding can impact your home’s piping, electrical circuits, floors, baseboards, walls, and structural integrity. If your home suffers from flooding, You should have an expert install foundation pilings that are load-bearing and won’t break, move or shift as well as repair the soil erosion around your home.
Signs of Foundation Damage
If the evidence of flooding has been confirmed, here are the signs of foundation damage to your home that will also need to be addressed for repair:
- New cracks in the ceiling, walls, and floors
- Windows and doors do not function properly with cracks in the frame
- Large tears in wallpaper
- The soil around your home has sunk and is no longer level with the lawn
- Big gaps between the ceiling, walls, and floors
- Crown molding is separating and cracked
- Garage doors don’t shut level
- Uneven floors
What’s the Next Step for Foundation Damage Due to Flooding in Florida?
The first thing you should do is contact a soil remediation company and have the damage to your foundation, soil, and home inspected for structural damage and to see if it’s safe enough to live in. Due to the serious nature of flooding for you and your family’s safety, it’s vital that you have this inspection done as soon as possible. If there is evidence of structural damage and black mold, you should consider alternative living conditions until the damages are repaired and deemed safe to return.
Flooding can also cause upheaval and wreak havoc on your home’s electrical system and poses high risks for homes that are running on natural gas. In the event of a flood, you can take certain safety measures that greatly reduce the damage to your home and your family’s risks. You should turn off all AC units, shut the main breaker off to the house, and close the main gas valve supply coming into your house. If you still smell gas or hear buzzing electrical noise, you should immediately evacuate the house and call the fire department.
How to Deal With Minimal Flood Damage
If you had a minimal flood occur, absorb the water with towels or mops; however, you should also be aware that flooding carries hazardous chemicals and raw sewage into your home. It’s important to wear protective clothing and gloves before you clean the areas affected by floodwaters. All areas such as the floors, baseboards, and walls will need to be sanitized including your furniture before it’s safe enough to live in. If you have carpets, it’s best to tear them out and replace them. Additionally, you should also open your windows for ventilation while you’re cleaning up the mess.
How to Prepare for Future Flood Damage in Florida
Once your foundation and home have been professionally repaired by a soil remediation company, it’s a good idea to take preventive measures and learn the early warning signs of flood damage before you get hit with another expensive repair bill in the future. Here are some tips for minimizing the loss of valuables and preventing future flood damage:
Tip #1: Store your valuables on higher shelves or overhead storage compartments.
Tip #2: Keep your gutters and downspouts clear and make sure water is draining away from the house and not towards it.
Tip #3: Use a variety of waterproofing materials such as Xypex or Drylok on your foundation and concrete floors.
Tip #4: Have your foundation professionally repaired and reinforced with foundation pilings made from steel that are driven deep into the ground.
Tip #5: If you live in a reoccurring flood zone, have your soil remediation specialist perform yearly inspections of your foundation and soil around the house.
The Best Course of Action for Flood Damage
There are a lot of homeowners in Florida who overlook the structural damage to their foundation after a flood because, for the most part, some of these key signs are hard to recognize to the untrained eye. The best course of action is to call a professional soil remediation company to access the damage and make the necessary repairs to your home and foundation.
It’s not uncommon for Florida homeowners to be concerned about other issues related to flooding such as drywall replacement, mold, and mildew removal, floor replacements, insurance claims, and family living issues; therefore, the structural integrity of a house oftentimes goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Flooding is a serious situation, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly because serious health problems can and will affect your family as well as the integrity of your foundation.